Davidson, Streaks lead strong area track team

Section II brings a strong contingent of athletes, led by the Saratoga Springs girls, to the state m
Hannah Davidson of Saratoga springs competes in the state cross country meet last fall.-(Tullyrunners.com)
Hannah Davidson of Saratoga springs competes in the state cross country meet last fall.-(Tullyrunners.com)

The most interesting thing about Saratoga Springs’ record-breaking performance in the girls’ 4 x 800

relay last week was that coach Linda Kranick believes there is plenty of room for improvement.

So instead of just topping the all-time Section II list at 8:58.67 — the first time an area team has broken nine minutes — the Blue Streaks may find themselves climbing high on the all-time state list, as well.

And that puts them right in the hunt with Warwick Valley, which brings the No. 1 seed time, 8:55.61, into this weekend’s state meet at the University of Buffalo in Amherst.

The meet gets under way today at 12:30 p.m. with field events, followed by running heats at 2. On Saturday, the meets picks up at

10 a.m.

For many of the events, the meet will be split into large-school (Div­ision I) and small-school (Division II) championships, with the top finishers returning Saturday to take on athletes from New York’s Public Schools Athletic League, Cath­olic High Schools Athletic Assoc­iation and Alliance of Independent Schools in Federation championship races. Several of the distance races, including the 4 x 800 relay, will lump all of the athletes into one overall championship race.

Saratoga’s record run in last Friday’s State Qualifier at Knox Field in Johnstown was led off by Cassie Goutos’ 2:18, followed by Hannah Davidson’s 2:16, Brianne Bellon’s snappy 2:10 and Michelle Riley’s 2:12 anchor. Shenendehowa provided the push with a 9:07.97 that should also set up the Plainsmen for a medal this weekend.

Kranick, who coaches Saratoga Springs along with her husband, Art, was not surprised.

“Art told me they were going to do that ahead of time,” she said. “We’re just going to do the best we can.”

The 4 x 800 relay will take place toward the end of Saturday’s schedule, but before that, Davidson, Riley and Bellon will have the oppor­tunity to excel in individual events.

Davidson, a Providence-bound senior, has a state-leading time of 9:41 in tonight’s 3,000-meter run. Her competition will come from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake junior Sam Roecker (9:44.56), Fayetteville-Manlius freshman star Courtney Chapman (9:48.02) and veteran Seton Catholic campaigner Mary Kate Champagne (9:48.49). But the sleeper could be Emily Lipari of Roslyn, tucked in fifth at a modest 9:56.24. She was both the state public high school and Federation cross country champion.

“She’s looking good, very

focused, and we know she’s going to do a great job,” said Kranick of Davidson, who ran an impressive 17:08 against elite runners two weeks ago in the Freihofer’s 5k Run for Women.

Davidson’s specialty is the 2,000-meter steeplechase, where she has run a national-leading 6:45, but she chose to run the 3,000 instead at the states. Davidson will get a chance to defend her national steeplechase title next weekend in North Carolina.

In the large-school 800, also today, Riley (2:10.67) and Bellon (2:12.25) are in another compet­itive field that includes Hempstead’s Charlene Lipsey (2:11.09) and Bayshore’s well-regarded Sarah

McCurdy (2:11.68), a double winner at the Eddy Meet this spring.

“Good competition brings good times,” Kranick said.


The Blue Streaks have another potential gold medalist in soph­omore hurdler Madalayne Smith, the fastest performer in area history. She won the state indoor hurdle title, her 14:04 clocking from the Hartford Invitational last month tops the state, and she beat her nearest rival, Ashley Hendrix of Uniondale, in the Eddy Meet with a 14.10.

Smith celebrated her birthday Thursday night after the Section II contingent arrived in Buffalo.

With nine No. 1 seeds and another 10 individuals or relay teams ranked No. 2, Section II brings much more talent than the Saratoga Springs girls.

The terrific intermediate hurdle battle played out at the qualifier between Albany Academy’s Riker Wikoff (Section II-record 53.07) and Schuylerville’s Shane Wagner (53.65) will be reenacted in Division II today, where they could easily finish first and second.

The Academy of Holy Names has among the top entries in both the

4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays, and freshman Klarissa Ricks is top-seeded in the long jump at 18-10 and figures into a competitive 100-meter dash that may enable her to lower her all-time area record of 12.12.

Others holding down No. 1 seeds include Zac Suriano of Shenendehowa in the 800 (1:53.07), teammate Jim Schwendtner in the discus

(168-9) and Sarah Palmer of Schuylerville in the Federation high jump (5-81⁄2, state freshman record).

Colonie will be in the second slot on the boys’ 4 x 800 relay line, based on its Penn Relays 7:48.03, alongside Chaminade (7:47.79).

Other No. 2 seeds include the Chatham duo of Leah Wightman (57.54) and Hayley Madsen (2:13.40) in the 400 and 800, respectively, Theresa Kennedy of Holy Names in the high jump and Catie Coxon of Duanesburg in the discus (123-9)

Not to be overlooked is Shenendehowa’s Michelle Quimby, the state indoor pole vault champion who is seeded third with a Section II-record 11-11. She tackles a pair of 12-foot vaulters in Sydnie Leroy of Port Jervis and Camille Gifford of Vestal.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s Meaghan Gregory is listed third in the steeplechase, but she’s a state indoor 3,000 champion capable of lowering her seed time of 6:58.04 and challenging Shelby Greany (6:49.64) of Suffern.

Among the premiere Section II athletes missing the meet will be two injured Colonie stars, hurdler Jim Kehrer and triple jumper Steve Crouse, and Scotia-Glenville’s Jillian King.

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